The Cross River State House of Assembly yesterday rejected the confirmation of Justice Akon Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge (CJ) of the state.
The House was filled with tension yesterday when the matter came up for debate, as courts in the state remained closed in protest against her confirmation.
When deliberation came, two opposing reports were presented for consideration indicating that the Committee on Judiciary that handled the matter may have been divided over sentiments and financial inducement as a faction of the committee led by its Chairman, Efa Esua cleared Ikpeme for confirmation, while another led by Godwin Akwaji (Obudu State constituency) and five others recommended that Ikpeme be rejected because she was not from Cross River State.
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Following the confusion, the House after heated debate rejected both reports and a committee of the whole house ultimately rejected her confirmation through a voice vote, a situation for which some members condemned the presentation of two reports.
Also, representative of Bakassi, Ekpo Ekpo Bassey,cautioned the house against setting a bad precedence, saying, “This is my fifth year in the House and I have never seen two reports being presented to the House from a committee.
The House has to be on the side of justice at all times and avoid setting a bad precedence. We need to strengthen institutions and avoid sowing seeds of ethnicity and disunity in the House.”
Ikpeme hails from Akwa Ibom state, but she is married to an indigene of Cross River. Itam Abang, representing Boki constituency, also said it is sad that the assembly has been prejudiced by ethnic sentiments.